You are here:

Violin/Size of Guarneri, and Strad

Advertisement


Question
Hello!  I (Eddie Hodges) was watching an illustration on YouTube about violins.  There were two (2) violins displayed:  A Guarneri Del Gesu, and a Stradivius.  From my observation, the Guarneri Del Gesu violin seemed to be a bit larger in size than the Strad. It almost looked like a Viola.  Am I correct, or not?  Please let me know.

Answer
Hi Eddie,

Thanks for your question.  I'll answer as best I can, though I'm really not a historical expert.  

Every violin is unique, and what you observed may be true of the violins you saw.  However, there are over 500 surviving Strad violins, I believe, and around 40-50 Guarneris.  Each has its own unique characteristics.  Both of these makers experimented with different designs and sizes throughout their careers, so the resulting violins vary quite a bit.  Demands on the instruments were also changing - with the violin just starting to become a solo instrument, requiring greater volume (which meant thicker plates and greater arching) and a longer fingerboard (to accommodate higher position playing).  Stradaveri was the first, I believe, (part-way through his career) to make a "long" pattern violin - what we now consider to be the standard 4/4 size.  

So, it really does depend on the particular instruments.  In general, Guarneri violins are known for their flatter arching, sloping shoulders, and darker tone.  While Strads are known more for their meticulous craftsmanship, brighter tone, and temperamental nature.  

Regards,
Jim Fisher  

Violin

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


James S. Fisher

Expertise

Please Note: For an accurate appraisal of your instrument's value or history, I must advise you to take it to a local luthier or string shop for an evaluation. It's really not possible to do this with any accuracy via email.

However, I am happy to answer other questions about violins, bows, violin playing, and violin/bow repair. I can also talk with you about what bows, rosin, strings, cases, shoulder rests, etc. might work best for you and your particular instrument. (There are some great new products on the market.) I've taught violin and fiddle playing for the past 18 years and will answer questions about playing and technique.

Experience

I've been studying the violin for over thirty years. I started teaching in 1996. In addition to my training at Lebanon Valley College and at the Violin Institute, I handle violins, bows, and customer questions of all sorts on a daily basis in my shop - J.S. Fisher Violins, www.fisherviolins.com.

Organizations
NAAM, ASTA

Education/Credentials
I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, as well as certificates in violin repair, violin maintenance, and bow rehairing from the Violin Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.